Friday, July 29, 2011

Video: Authors@Google: Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff - author and theorist - coined the term "digital natives".  He thought digital natives would be able to surf the digital terrain like "natives", but that has not happened.  In fact, they are "way way worse at discerning between valid information and crap online...."

To hear him talk about this, view this video beginning at minute 9:15.  (Although if you start at the beginning, a couple of the analogies will make more sense.)  If you listen until minute 13:13, you will hear the core of his argument...and it is very interesting! (The rest of the video is also VERY interesting and worth listening to, if you have time.)

This is of interest to me because of the continued discussion at conferences and in the media about "digital natives" and "millennials".  Like some of my colleagues, I'm tired of us looking at millennials - who are assumed to be digital natives - as being naturally better at technology.  They are not.  (That may be a shock to you and I'm sorry.)  And after a recent rant about this in Google+, a colleague pointed me toward this video.

You might ask, "Jill, how do you know that digital natives aren't better at technology?" I watch them as well as those that are digital immigrants.  Those that are focused on how technology works - and what it is meant to do - will use it better than those that are not.  Another way of thinking about this is that those that use an iPhone don't inherently understand what an iPhone will do best (and how to make that happen). 

After listening to Douglass Rushkoff, I am vowing to stop using the term "digital natives", unless I'm explaining to someone why that term should not be used.  If you listen to him, I hope you'll vow to do the same.

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